Background and purpose: Case-control studies suggest that acute infection transiently increases the risk of childhood arterial ischemic stroke. We hypothesized that an unbiased pathogen discovery approach utilizing MassTag-polymerase chain reaction would identify pathogens in the blood of childhood arterial ischemic stroke cases.
Methods: The multicenter international VIPS study (Vascular Effects of Infection in Pediatric Stroke) enrolled arterial ischemic stroke cases, and stroke-free controls, aged 29 days through 18 years. Parental interview included questions on recent infections. In this pilot study, we used MassTag-polymerase chain reaction to test the plasma of the first 161 cases and 34 controls enrolled for a panel of 28 common bacterial and viral pathogens.
Results: Pathogen DNA was detected in no controls and 14 cases (8.7%): parvovirus B19 (n=10), herpesvirus 6 (n=2), adenovirus (n=1), and rhinovirus 6C (n=1). Parvovirus B19 infection was confirmed by serologies in all 10; infection was subclinical in 8. Four cases with parvovirus B19 had underlying congenital heart disease, whereas another 5 had a distinct arteriopathy involving a long-segment stenosis of the distal internal carotid and proximal middle cerebral arteries.
Conclusions: Using MassTag-polymerase chain reaction, we detected parvovirus B19-a virus known to infect erythrocytes and endothelial cells-in some cases of childhood arterial ischemic stroke. This approach can generate new, testable hypotheses about childhood stroke pathogenesis.
Keywords: carotid artery, internal; case–control studies; heart diseases; middle cerebral artery; parvovirus B19, human; polymerase chain reaction; stroke.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.